The same number believe it’s important for the B.C. government to keep its 2017 election promise to take action on old-growth forests, including more protection, less logging, partnerships with First Nations and support for a more diversified economy. These are the results of a Research Co. poll Sierra Club BC recently commissioned.
These views are widely held across the province, with 90% or more in southern BC and the Fraser Valley, 87% on northern Vancouver Island and 83% in northern BC.
Clearly, an overwhelming majority of BC residents care a lot about old-growth forests. And this poll shows people understand how important it is to protect these carbon-storing trees as a way to tackle the climate emergency.
British Columbians understand that old-growth forests are globally rare and important, and should be protected as a legacy for future generations. They give us clean water and help clean the air. They capture and store carbon from the atmosphere, which helps defend communities from the extreme weather caused by climate change. They’re important for First Nations cultural values. Many important and rare species depend on old-growth. In the poll, about four in five British Columbians agreed with these statements.
But every day, across the province, more than 500 soccer fields’ worth of old-growth forests are still being clearcut.This is not only an ecological disaster that contributes to the climate crisis; it also undermines long term jobs in a diverse economy and the rights of Indigenous peoples.
Legal changes are needed to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in forestry laws in order to respect Indigenous jurisdiction and governance, support Indigenous-led conservation, and support economic alternatives for Nations that seek to protect more land. We encourage supporters to gain an understanding of UNDRIP and to learn about Indigenous law with resources from UVic’s Indigenous Law Research Unit.
The BC government has announced feedback processes to inform future changes to forest laws and practices. But when the government talks a good game and acts slowly while allowing endangered ancient forests to be clearcut rapidly, we call it “Talk and Log.” And right now, “Talk and Log” is putting all of us, and our kids, at risk.
The climate crisis means the provincial government must put the brakes on the rapid logging of endangered old-growth forests. We can protect big old trees and have sustainable forest jobs into the future, but only if we act quickly to increase protection and transition to improved, sustainable forest management practices that work for communities and ecosystems and that respect Indigenous rights and jurisdiction.
Take action to defend old-growth forests
There are lots of ways to take action this fall on old-growth forests.
Tell the BC government you support protecting old-growth
The BC government is currently doing a review of forestry laws (FRPA (the Forest Range and Practices Act) and collecting feedback on its approach to old-growth forests. Their processes aren’t great, but we need to use this opportunity to press hard on the need to protect old-growth right now, not later.
The panel wants to hear from you about what old-growth means to you and how you value it, your perspective on how old-growth is managed now, and how you think old-growth could be managed more effectively. You can prepare with fact sheets on old-growth, maps, stories and information found on our forest action page, RainforestIsland.ca.
You can also send an email online. We’ll soon have an additional action you can take to call for bold action for old-growth in amendments to FRPA. We are expecting amendments to this law in early 2020. These changes will show whether the Province is serious about taking action for old-growth.
Attend an event
Join Sierra Club BC and the Wilderness Committee in Victoria on December 2 at a fundraiser for the Nuchatlaht Nation’s title case. The Nuchatlaht are mounting what could be a ground breaking legal challenge to gain their land back from the mismanagement of the BC government and exploitation of resources by corporations like Western Forest Products. Learn more and RSVP
Join Sierra Club BC and the Wilderness Committee for town halls in Sointula on November 23 and Campbell River on November 25 to hear about the linkages between the climate crisis and the state of old-growth and second-growth forests on Vancouver Island. Learn more and RSVP
We need your help to build public support for old-growth protection and better forest management. By giving to Sierra Club BC, you make it possible for us to organize more of these town hall events, provide resources and trainings, and do field assessments to shine a light on what’s happening in the woods with photographers, journalists and biologists. You can help us support Indigenous-led efforts for forest conservation and get more outreach teams out on the streets. Donate now